The Liberal party is getting serious about renewal, and they’re enlisting some of their big guns to do it.
Sources say plans are coming together for a “renewal committee” which will spend months travelling the province and hearing about what it means to be a Liberal.
“It’s about listening, listening, listening,” a source close to the project told The Telegram.
The source spoke to The Telegram on the condition of anonymity because the “renewal committee” is still coming together. A formal announcement is not expected until the first week of April.
The idea of a renewal committee has been batted around for months within the Liberal party. It was first talked about seriously when interim party leader Dwight Ball took on the job in December.
The idea is to have a group of prominent party members travel around the province holding events and town hall meetings as a way to reach out to Liberals, and talk about the party’s core values.
At that time, three names were talked about as being central to the process — former MP Siobhan Coady, former leader Kevin Aylward, and businessman Dean MacDonald, who has made it clear he’s interested in pursuing the party leadership in the future.
But sources in the party indicate since then the project has grown, and when the announcement happens, it will likely include more prominent party members, and representation from different regions of the province.
In last fall’s provincial election, the Liberals narrowly managed to hold onto official Opposition status in the House of Assembly, but they came third in popular vote — five percentage points behind the NDP.
Since then, there has been talk internally of getting back to the “grassroots” of the party.
The Liberals have been fairly active in the past couple of months, holding a significant party fundraiser in February, hiring a full-time executive director and planning for a $250-a-plate fundraising dinner with federal MP Justin Trudeau in early May.
The Liberal source told The Telegram the renewal committee’s work would be “ongoing” and there would be no deadline or rush to move quickly.
However, the party is holding a provincial convention in Gander in early November, and the committee will likely make a progress report on its work at that point, as well as holding meetings during the convention.
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